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Today we're talking affordable and mid-priced skincare that I'm loving at the moment. There's no particular categorisation, just a bunch of products I'm loving and recommending that come in under the £25 mark...
We'll kick things off with cleansers; a first cleanse to remove makeup and sunscreen that's really knocked my socks off is the Geek & Gorgeous Mighty Melt Cleansing Balm* | £12.25. This is a budget-priced cleanser that feels so luxurious on the skin. It has a gorgeously-buttery texture that melts down effortlessly onto dry skin, loosening up makeup and dissolving sunscreen. On contact with water, it transforms into a milk which can be washed away or helped along with a damp cloth. It doesn't leave any kind of film or residue on the skin and it's very gentle. It's a really simple and fragrance-free formula for all skin types that works, even against waterproof eye makeup.
The other cleanser I'm spotlighting for this post is one I've just not been able to put down; I've tested other formulas in the interim but keep finding myself sneaking this back into my rotation! The Elf Pure Skin Cleanser | £9 | is a kind of milky gel that doesn't foam but has a creamy quality to it as you work it into the skin. I love this as a gentle, non-stripping morning cleanse or I use it in the evening after removing makeup with something like the Geek & Gorgeous cleansing balm. It's great for skin that's dry, sensitive, compromised or any combination of the three with soothing, moisturising, barrier-building ingredients like oat, niacinamide, allantoin and ceramides. If you like the idea of a cream cleanser but don't like the thought of a heavier consistency that's harder to wash off the skin: give this a go.
Next, we'll talk about serums: one for AM and one for PM, covering off your most important actives if your routine is focused on well-ageing. First, we have the Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C + Tri-Peptide Serum* | £19.95. I don't know what my expectations were of this formula, but I feel like it exceeded them! This serum has a hydrating gel base and is formulated with two really great actives: Vitamin C and peptides. The form of Vitamin C used here is 3-O Ethylated Ascorbic Acid, a derivative that's essentially ascorbic acid made more stable, so you get the antioxidant benefits (protecting the skin from free radical damage) without the product expiring quickly or irritating your skin. There are 3 peptides in here; these short-chain amino acids can help plump, smooth and hydrate the skin, potentially even boosting up collagen production, the protein that keeps our skin full and plump. There are a bunch of soothing and hydrating ingredients in here too so it really acts as an all-in-one active for your morning routine if you want smooth, plump, hydrated skin, hopefully for years to come!
In the PM corner, I have the Elf Youth Boosting Advanced Retinoid Night Serum | £22. I love that retinal as a skincare ingredient is becoming so accessible and the cost of products featuring it is coming down each year, because it's easily my favourite form of retinoid, but previously I was only able to recommend relatively expensive products in this category. Retinoids are pretty much the only skincare ingredient class proven to not just prevent signs of ageing but also to improve existing signs of photoageing. They boost collagen production and also help with scarring, texture and discolouration. Retinal is one step down from a prescription retinoid but one step up from its more famous sibling: retinol. It's gentle but highly effective and this gel-serum formula contains a 0.05% concentration alongside 1% granactive retinoid as a booster, which is oil-based (so easier on the skin barrier) but highly bioavailable to the skin (so very effective). It also contains soothing, hydrating ingredients to buffer any potential drying effect from the retinoids, plus antioxidants and peptides for a potent one-step treatment. This is an effective retinoid that doesn't irritate my skin and I'm seriously excited that a formula like this is now available for under £25!
I also have an eye treatment in the Ordinary's Multi-Peptide Eye Serum* | £19.90. This water-gel serum is formulated with peptides, to keep the eye area hydrated and promote well-ageing, niacinamide to help with discolouration and strengthen the skin barrier and caffeine to help diminish the appearance of dark veins beneath the thin under-eye skin. If you're looking for a gentle eye treatment to future-proof your skin and help a little with bags, puffiness and dark circles: this won't break the bank and a bottle will last you a good while.
Now, let's talk moisturisers, starting with the E45 Face Moisturiser* | £7.99. Raise your hand if you were a 90s kid with eczema, because if you are: you probably share the same memories as I do of being basted with E45 at every opportunity! E45 is still one of the top picks on the market for eczema-prone or very dry skin, however they've now launched a more elegant, lightweight formula for the face. This creamy-lotion melts so nicely into the skin with minimal massaging-in but contains all the good stuff from the original formula to help with dry skin conditions. To hydrate, nourish, replenish and seal in moisture, we have shea butter, fatty alcohols, Vitamin E, glycerin, non-fragrant plant oils and hyaluronic acid. It tackles dry skin but doesn't have a heavy texture. It's simple, it's function and it works extremely well for dry and / or fussy skin.
Another great one for dry and / or sensitive skin that's a little richer for overnight use is the Aveeno Calm & Restore Rehydrating Night Cream* | £12.99. This is a really nice cream that melts into the skin really nicely as it's no too rich (top tip: you can tell this before purchasing this because it comes in a pump bottle). This is a skin-softening, soothing and substantial moisturiser that skins right into my skin and doesn't leave behind a greasy excess. It's formulated with glycerin for that added moisture, shea butter for deeper nourishment, soothing oat extract and some anti-inflammatory ingredients. Perfect for dry and redness-prone skin!
During the day, my go-to for sun protection has been the Garnier Ambre Solaire SPF 50+ Invisible Serum* | £14. This is a light lotion-milk serum that's moisturising but not too thick, heavy or greasy. It melts nicely into the skin, doesn't leave a cast and doesn't aggravate my eyes! It's formulated primarily with newer, more cosmetically-elegant and less potentially-irritating sunscreen filters, plus ceramides and Vitamin E. It's the perfect 'every single day' sunscreen to try this summer with a high level of broad spectrum protection in a product that works perfectly with my other skincare and makeup products.
Finally, we have the Indeed Labs Squalane Facial Oil* | £19.99. This is a 100% sugarcane-derived squalane oil which imitates the oils your skin naturally produces to gently replenish, nourish and soften the skin. I love the lightweight texture of this oil, the lack of excess it leaves on my skin and how soft, smooth and happy my face feels the next morning when I finish my PM routine off with this product!
Have you tried any of my picks? What are your top finds under £25 right now?
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